Guidance

The Benilde-St. Margaret's Guidance Department provides guidance and support to students and families.

We assist students with academic planning and social and emotional development. We emphasize college and career planning throughout the high school years. Please click on the topic below as appropriate; and note that up-to-date guidance information will be published in the Knightly News e-newsletters. Click here to find recent issues.

BSM Guidance Counselors

Amy Larson
Guidance/College Counselor
(last names A-Do)

Kate Berry
Guidance/College Counselor
(last names Dr-I)

Heidi Wessman
Guidance/College Counselor
(last names J-McG)

Fran Roby
Guidance/College Counselor
(last names McH-Sc)

Amanda Anderson
Guidance/College Counselor
(last names Se-Z)

Dr. Jeff Steffenson
Mental Health / Licensed Psychologist for grades 9-12

Licensed Psychologist for grades 7-12
 
Guidance Services Listed Below:
Academic Counseling & Tutoring

The guidance counselors assist and support students in achieving academic success. Our counselors help students develop academic goals, construct course schedules and deal with any problems that are interfering with academic success.

In addition to academic support at BSM, we partner with a number of tutoring services. See our full list of tutoring partners here.

Chemical Health Counseling

BSM believes that all students benefit from a lifestyle that does not include the use of tobacco, alcohol, and non-prescribed drugs. The Student Support Team and the BSM Parent Association work together to develop services and programs that are offered in support of this belief

There is a mandatory parent meeting (Community of Concern) that summarizes the most recent data about the patterns of use of BSM students. The Student Support Team shares what we have been learning about our community and encourages parents to consider certain parenting strategies.

A chemical health counselor is available at BSM for students and parents. This program includes personal counseling, support groups, and consultation with parents about their students. Faculty in-services and class presentations are offered upon request. Students may refer themselves or a peer. Parents may initiate contact directly and students may also be referred by teachers and administrators.

College Counseling

Because an average of 95% of BSM graduates attend college, the counseling staff are very involved in assisting students with their post-secondary plans. The staff strongly believes that in order for the process to be successful, it needs to be a collaborative effort by the student, parents and the school. The counselors work with juniors and seniors in a variety of ways:

  • Register students for classes
  • Assist in identifying post-secondary options
  • Assist with essays and personal statements
  • Write letters of recommendation
  • Process and review applications before mailing them to colleges
  • Mail mid-year and final grades to colleges
  • Provide emotional support
  • Serve as an advocate throughout the college admissions process

See "College Resources" for more information. 

Group Counseling

The mission of BSM is to develop students in mind, body and spirit. One of the ways we work on mind and spirit is through groups. Support groups are used for several reasons. First, support groups are used as a way to prevent roadblocks to success from negatively affecting the personal and academic lives of students. Second, support groups are used to help students who are dealing with serious issues. Finally, support groups are used so that the student support team can keep on top of student issues within the school.

How Groups are Formed

Student need typically dictates the type of groups formed. Student surveys are sent out to homerooms at the beginning of the year. Students fill out these surveys as to whether they want to be in a support group, see a counselor individually, or neither of these options. The counselor tallies the surveys to find out which students want services, and the student support team discusses who should and should not be in groups.

Typical Groups at BSM:

  • Anxiety
  • Children of Alcoholics
  • Depression
  • Eating Disorders
  • Family Change (Divorce and Separation)
  • Insight Group (Chemical use or abuse)
  • Loss and Grief
  • Relationships (family, friends, significant others, etc.)
  • Stress Management
  • Tobacco Cessation
Learning Supports Services

The Learning Support team works with students with diverse learning needs and diagnosed learning disabilities. Learning Specialists support students in the curriculum through small group instruction, 1:1 conferences, and act as resources for parents and teachers.

Services provided include Learning Lab, Quiet Study, and Check in-Check out. All services are designed to help students with diagnosed learning differences advocate for themselves in the areas of organization, assistive technology, test preparation, work habits, and work completion.

The Director of Learning Support works with incoming families of diverse learners to develop accommodation plans based on assessment reports provided by the family.

Personal Counseling

The senior high counselors are available to meet with students about personal issues before school, during the student’s free period or after school. Students should not miss class to meet with a counselor unless they have a pass from the teacher of the class they will miss.

Psychological Services

Because of our holistic approach to student well-being, we have a consulting psychologist who meets with students, teachers, and parents on a regular basis. We want you to know that parents can, and do, initiate these contacts. Our psychologist is available to meet with parents and students on a variety of problem areas, including academic concerns, friendship issues, family relationships, and many other frequently occurring problems of adolescence. In addition, if you have questions about accessing community resources through your health plan, our psychologist can help you be an effective advocate for your child.

Student Support Team

The Student Support Team has been meeting weekly since 1981 to discuss student needs, and serves as a central planning group for student wellness. It is comprised of the three deans, guidance counselors, special needs coordinator, chemical health counselor, campus minister, psychologist, assistant principal, and principal. The purpose of the Student Support Team is to provide an opportunity for support staff to meet on a regular basis to confidentially share concerns regarding students’ behavior along with academic or personal issues. Additionally, the team determines a plan of action on how to address the issue at hand. Issues that are addressed include academic concerns, discipline referrals, family crises, chemical dependency, and personal issues. A plan of action is implemented if necessary. Information comes to the team from teacher referrals, parent telephone calls, and concerns from students.